imperfections of man, but at the same time purifies and saves the suffering sinner.

In 2 Thess. 1: 7-9, the apostle speaks of the Lord Jesus “as being revealed from heaven in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ who shall be punished with everlasting (aionion) destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." This revelation by fire, and the destruction of the age, upon those that obeyed not God or the gospel, was the same as expressed in the 24th and 25th chapters of Matt., namely, the destruction of Jerusalem and that people as a nation. The Jews were those who troubled the Thessalonian brethren, and when Christ was revealed in fire (his chastening power), those Jews were punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, - that is, from Jerusalem, and from the glory of his power. There was no glory resulting to those wicked Jews; they had been disobedient, and must receive the fruit of their doings. The violation of every law, whether physical, moral or national, must have its results. The Jews had undoubtedly violated all of those laws; of course they must suffer accordingly. The time had come; they were ripe for its result. It is called the destruction of the age (aionion destruction), because that age of people were ripe for the result, and the angels, or messengers (the Romans), were ready to execute it. It took place during that generation. See Matt. 16: 27, 28. Mark 8 38; 9: 1; Luke 9: 26, 27; Matt. 23: 36; 24: 34. Christ is represented as taking vengeance on them, not only because he had warned them of its approach, and cautioned them to be wise and shun its calamities, but because they had utterly refused to give heed to his warnings and instructions, maltreating him as an impostor and malefactor. Christ, in this ordeal, sat as a refiner. Nothing was consumed or destroyed save the wicked and wickedness. The destruction of the wicked was only literal; he did not destroy them further than their literal existence was concerned. Nothing is said of following them into eternity. See Luke 13: 1-5, "There were present at that season some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus, answering, said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay; but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise

perish. Or those eighteen upon whom the tower of Siloam fell and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay; but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Here Christ informed the Jews that, unless they reformed, and gave heed to his advice, they should all likewise perish, that is, they should perish in like manner as did the Galileans: they lost their earthly existence, and so did the Jews at Jerusalem. It was the natural result of their previous course, while, at the same time, all who heeded Christ's instruction were saved. This fiery catastrophe did not consume the righteous; they made their escape, and were safe.

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There are several passages, such as 2 Peter 3: 7, Rev. 20: 9 and some others, which relate to the same time, and have the same interpretation. Whenever the term fire is connected with Sheol, or Gehenna, it can have no more than a temporal signification; for the reason that those places themselves are only temporal, as will be seen in this work.

We find at least two instances where the adjective aionion, rendered everlasting, is prefixed to the word fire; but it is well known that adjectives do not of themselves establish qualities in nouns; they are only used to express those properties or qualities that are inherent in the subject itself. Hence punishment (which was the object of this fire), being a means and not an end, cannot be affected by aionion, whatever meaning may be attached to it. The truth is, aionion, or everlasting, has no other than a limited signification See on that word, in this work. In Matt. 18: 8, and 25: 41, the phrase everlasting fire occurs, and appears to allude (especially the first, from its parallel in Mark 9: 43-48) to the fire of Gehenna, which will be considered under that head. It also appears that the last stands connected with that event. The word everlasting, applied to punishment, and the word eternal, applied to life, in this verse, are both from the same word, and both have the same meaning the one shall go away into punishment aionion, the other into life aionion. So we see that both words have the same meaning, and that neither has an unlimited signification.


In Jude 7, the same word occurs, and is prefixed to fire, dered eternal fire. Jude is here speaking of Sodom and Gomorrah, with other cities that had given themselves over to wickedness, as being set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal


fire Although the word aionion, here rendered eternal, has the same signification as above defined, yet it will be seen that the phrase, eternal fire, is here used as the instrument of punishment. Let that fire last as long as it may, it is not said that they were to suffer eternally, or even as long as the fire might continue to burn. The word eternal is here prefixed to fire, not to the cities or their inhabitants. It is stated that the fire which consumed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah actually continued to burn for more than two thousand years; but who could be so insane as to suppose that the inhabitants of those cities suffered during that period? It is immaterial how long that fire continued to burn on the plains of Sodom and Gomorrah; it is certain that the inhabitants could suffer no longer than life remained. Hence, no shade of an argument can be adduced from this text to favor the unmerciful doctrine of endless misery.

In Matt. 3: 12, and Luke 3: 17, we have instances where this fire is called unquenchable. It will, however, readily be understood that this unquenchable fire stands immediately connected with the axe and the trees that were to be hewn down and cast into the fire; and also with the baptism which was to be performed with the Holy Ghost and with fire. From the connection of these expressions, it certainly is reasonable to suppose that the same subject is in view, and the same signification given, with the exception that he here extends his figure in showing favor to the obedient, as well as stern judgment to the disobedient. By gathering his wheat into the garner is signified the deliverance and safety of those who obeyed him, and who were actually safe from all harm in the city of Pella, among the mountains; while the unbelieving Jews were left to the pitiless fury of the Roman armies, and the fiery pangs of starvation and death. The severe distress of the Jews was represented by the phrase unquenchable fire, not because the fire would never cease to burn, but because it could not be extinguished, and would continue until the material on which it fed should be destroyed, or until the cause by which it was produced should be entirely removed.

Pearce, on this text, says, "In this whole verse the destruction of the Jewish state is expressed in the terms of husbandmen; and by the wheat's being gathered into the garner, seems meant that the believers in Jesus should not be involved in the calamity." Ham

mond says, "The burning of this chaff signifies the condition of the Jews in this life." Cappe refers it to the calamities and destruction of Jerusalem. Kenrick and Clarke give the same exposition. See their comments in full, Paige's Selections.

We know of no arguments which can possibly be made to bear against the foregoing conclusions. The fire of God's love and truth will burn, and continue to burn, to all eternity, and that for the good of his creatures. That called the fire of affliction, as connected with man, will burn until every imperfection is removed, and no longer.




Those passages where the expression THEIR WORM DIETH NOT may be founa

Isa. 66: 23, 24. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon t another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

Mark 9: 43-48. And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than, having two hands, to go into hell (Gehenna), into the fire that never shall be quenched; where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than, having two feet, to be cast into hell (Gehenna), into the fire that never shall be quenched; where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell-fire (Gehenna puros); where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.



Brief Remarks on the "Worm that dieth not."

The expression, "Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched," is relied on with much confidence, by the believer in endless misery, as strong proof of that doctrine. But for what reason we are unable to learn. Sure are we that the scripture

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